An 18-year-old put his 17-year-old girlfriend in a coma Friday night because he was frustrated that he could not untangle a fishing line.
Hannah Connaway of Wilmington, North Carolina, had to undergo emergency brain surgery after the brutal beating before doctors put her in a medically induced coma.
According to the assistant district attorney, the couple began arguing over text messages they had exchanged while at the home of boyfriend Michael Hutton’s parents.
Connaway’s friend, Claudene Williams, was there at the time and watched Hutton’s temper rise.
“He was angry because he couldn't untangle fishing lines,” Williams explained to WECT. “He was blaming her for some things like having snarky remarks to things he was saying, and then it just escalated and kept on going.”
Hutton began beating Connaway inside the house before strangling her and dragging her across the yard.
The friend tried her best to stop the abuse, but was unable to enter.
“I keep on hearing her screaming and I keep on hearing all the sounds and it's just awful. I ran around the front door. I tried to get in. All the doors were locked. It was just awful,” Williams said.
Emergency responders arrived and found the girl unconscious in the yard. She was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for emergency brain surgery.
Cynthia Strickland, the victim’s grandmother, says that her granddaughter knew Hutton had emotional issues.
"Hannah thought she could save him," Strickland said. "She thought she could help him."
Connaway has been showing signs of improvement, with her condition changed from “critical” to “fair.” Her friends have stayed by her side throughout the ordeal.
"Hannah opened her eyes today and was hoarsely talking to Sunny and I," Williams said. Connaway was "telling us she loves and that she is happy to see us. She seems a bit confused but is flashing us bright smiles. The left side of her body is still not moving like the doctors would like, but it will get there hopefully."
Family and friends hope that she will still be able to attend the University of Hawaii, where she planned to begin studying mechanical engineering in August. They have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her medical bills.
Hutton appeared in court on Tuesday and was charged with attempted first-degree murder, which could give him life in prison without parole, as well as kidnapping and drug charges. His bond was set at $1 million.